Why International Men’s Day 2022 is important

International Men’s Day is observed on November 19.   (Unsplash)
International Men’s Day is observed on November 19. (Unsplash)

November 19 marks International Men's Day (IMD) - a day that has been celebrated for more than two decades.

Every year, International Men's Day shines the spotlight on men making a difference and the issues men face globally and IMD can be an important catalyst to opening up discussion around the unique struggles facing men.

While it is not currently recognised by the UN, calls for an IMD date back as far as the 1960s and according to organisers its purpose is to "encourage men to teach the boys in their lives the values, character and responsibilities of being a man."

When is International Men's Day 2022 and where is it celebrated?

Falling on November 19 every year, IMD is celebrated in more than 60 countries worldwide including Singapore, Australia, India, the UK, the US, South Africa, Haiti, Jamaica, Hungary, Malta, Ghana, Moldova and Canada. This date falls on the birthday of Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a doctor from Trinidad and Tobago who relaunched International Men’s Day in 1999.

Dr Teelucksingh said in a statement: "International Men’s Day is observed on an annual basis by persons from all walks of life, who support the ongoing effort to improve lives, heal scarred hearts, seek solutions to social problems, mend troubled minds, reform the social outcasts and uplift the dysfunctional.

"IMD is designed to promote positive role models in society and develop wholesome individuals."

What is the theme of this year's International Men's Day?

The theme for 2022 is “Helping Men and Boys” to teach young boys the true value of a man and to celebrate the political, socioeconomic, and cultural accomplishments of both men and boys.

The International Men's Day celebration is sponsored by the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation, which has its headquarters in Australia. The foundation's basic beliefs are said to be governed by the "six pillars of men's day."

They are:

1. Promoting positive male role models, including working-class men

2. Celebrating positive contributions by men to society as well as the environment

3. Focusing on men’s health and well-being

4. Highlighting discrimination against men, including under the law

5. Promoting gender equality and improving gender relations

6. Creating a safe world

The theme specifically underlines one of the six pillars, men’s health and well-being, but is also in line with the other pillars which aid men either directly or indirectly.

Why is International Men's Day important?

According to the charity Calm, suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and, in 2015, 75 per cent of all UK suicides were male. IMD provides an opportunity to address problems like these.​

In 2019, the Standard ran The HUMEN Series in partnership with the new London-based male mental health charity, HUMEN. Founded by actor River Hawkins, he told the Standard at the time that hitting ‘rock bottom’ is what gave him the drive to start HUMEN and create a charity that is focused on action.

He continued: “Hitting rock bottom for me ended up being a blessing but at the time you lose all hope and I feel like I was rolling on the lowest of the low for about three months before I wanted to even try and do anything about it.

“During that time, what was really hard for me was that I felt as if I was in this no man’s land because I didn’t want to kill myself. I was saying I don’t want to live but at the same time, I don’t want to die. So I didn’t know what to do."

International Men's Day helps to shine the spotlight on charities such as HUMEN and the everyday struggle many men in the UK have with mental health.

International Men's Day also coincides with Movember, where men shave off their facial hair at the start of the month to grow a moustache to help raise money for charities and drive conversations about suicide prevention, men’s mental health, prostate cancer and testicular cancer

How does International Men's Day compare to International Women's Day?

International Women's Day is celebrated annually on March 8, with the first-ever gathering being held more than a century ago in 1911, according to the organisers.

The day celebrates the "social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women" and also acts as a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

No one organisation runs IWD - instead, it acts more as a "collective day of global celebration" with different organisations adopting different themes which support their cause.